I haven’t blogged for a while partly due to extreme busyness but also due to the fact that I relapsed and started drinking again. I conned myself into believing I could manage my addiction better since I believed I had adopted a new mindset and belief structure regarding my drinking. The Greeks called it Hubris, but whatever I name it: self-delusion, denial, overconfidence, it all adds up to the same thing…idiocy.
I planned my relapse by calling it a dispensation (a break from Lenten commitment) and thought I had gained enough control to find a way to manage it. I drank on my Birthday after 48 days dry. I have drunk 6 times since, culminating with a three-day party weekend. The usual situations and outcomes occurred: too much booze with my drinking friends, drinking until I crashed, feeling like total crap the next day, followed by the anxiety and a little depression. Happy Birthday! Of course this leads to the wind getting sucked out of my sails and my motivation flags (not just with drinking but other areas of improvement also). “Hello self loathing my old friend, I’ve come to speak with you again” Also this stint was particularly unpleasant for me. Not that it was much worse than past occurrences its just I hated it more when it was over and I have an even clearer sense of why I hate drinking and why I need to quit. Permanently.
But all is not lost and I will not let the setback weaken my resolve. I have learned much; during this spell of sobriety about the nature of this problem and built: strategies for success. Including help with cravings, boredom and being around people who are drinking. And I have started building an on-line support community through this and other blogs. I also learned I love being sober and all the benefits that come with it. In addition my wife is for the first time fully on board with my recovery. Maybe because after I had dried out for 48 days it made the contrast of my drinking again much clearer to her. She has always been supportive but now she really gets it.
And I am not going alone this time. I have officially notified my friends and family of the plan, joined the Booze Free Brigade and will probably be attending AA meetings (I would love to explore some SMART recovery meetings but they don’t have any in my area).
Coincidentally I received two omens Sunday.
First, I listened to the Bubble Hour and completely randomly landed on the episodes of what to do after relapse and one regarding relationships (Amazing) as usual it was extraordinarily helpful and relevant.
Second at church Sunday morning our pastor’s sermon focused on the help God’s love provides all of us. Specifically touching on instances where alcoholics he has known (he is an ex navy chaplain and has been around many high functioning alcoholics) found direction and tools through prayer, scripture and fellowship. We attended the same Methodist church for years and I have never had him discuss alcoholism in a sermon before, but on the day I am praying for help from god regarding this problem he delivers one. Whether you believe these events had something to do with divine intervention or not, I’ll take all the help I can get.
I understand the challenges I will face (some of them anyway) but I have better tools and more support and I will deal with them. I am a little humbled and disappointed but I truly feel this relapse has actually provided me with more information and motivation than I had prior to it and I can honestly say I am more determined than ever to live a sober, productive, thankful life.
Day 2. (again). Back in the ring.